Warm Arugula Salad

Warm Arugula Salad Recipe

Warm salads can be blooming amazing or complete disasters. First, you have to get your hungry guests around the table before you plate up, so as soon as their bums are on the chairs, you are tossing the warm ingredients in with the arugula leaves. Boom, boom, boom on a plate and it’s in front of them.–Jamie Oliver

LC Jamie Oliver Speak Note

This recipe is written in Jamie Oliver speak. That is, this salad is all about personalization and improvisation. The amounts are intentionally left a little loosey-goosey so you can tweak it to your palate and not get mired down in tedious measuring. That said, we’ve included some approximates for those who prefer pointed direction. The amounts can easily be scaled up or down depending on how many servings you desire—including, of course, just one. You can play fast and loose with the ingredients, too, as the seasons change. Go on. Embrace your inner Naked Chef.

Warm Arugula Salad Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4


  • 2 medium red onions
  • 8 slices pancetta or bacon
  • A couple of glugs olive oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • Handful of pinenuts (about 1/4 cup)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 big handfuls of arugula or any nice salad leaves
  • Balsamic vinegar (up to 1/4 cup or so)
  • Chunk of Parmesan cheese


  • 1. Peel, halve, and quarter each onion, then cut each quarter in half. This should give you 8 wedges per onion.
  • 2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and fry the pancetta or bacon until crisp. Transfer to a plate. Add 2 tablespoons or so of olive oil to drippings in the skillet. Add the thyme leaves, onions, and pinenuts along with a pinch of salt and toss around gently. Cook about 5 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and sweet (but not black!).
  • 3. Return the pancetta or bacon to the skillet and toss to coat. Then throw everything into a salad bowl on top of the arugula or any nice salad leaves. Drizzle generously with balsamic vinegar—this will make a natural dressing as it mixes with the olive oil. Have everyone already sitting at the table by the time you shave some Parmesan over the top—you can use a vegetable peeler to do this.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Emily Olson

Apr 29, 2010

This salad was easy to prepare and assemble. Rather than making this dish for four people, I made it for one (me). Though the measurements aren’t exact, I liked the improvisation because I could scale down the recipe. For the bacon/pancetta preparation, I wasn’t sure what to do with the leftover grease, so rather than tossing it, I just poured less olive oil in the pan for the onion, thyme, and pine nuts.

Dan Kraan

Apr 29, 2010

This recipe is easy to play fast and loose with in your kitchen. The amounts come down to how much you want of the ingredients involved. With all kinds of textures and flavour combinations, this salad is bound to please almost everyone. Remove the thyme leaves from their stems before you toss into the pan, so you won’t have to pull sticks off of the plate later. I used two handfuls of arugula, and two handfuls of leafy mixed greens. Be sure to have your guests seated before you serve, because the warm ingredients will cause the salad greens to wilt very quickly. Instead of tossing the salad, I used tongs to serve folks right out of the bowl.


  1. I’ve been making wilted lettuce salads for years and this is the best yet! I usually use cider or sherry vinegar but my 18-year old basalmic was delicious instead. I also added a sliced pear.

    1. Lovely to hear, Audrey. We, too, really like the sturdy yet slightly sweet taste of balsamic, it really stands up to the peppery arugula. And love the pear! Next time you toss that in, consider swapping walnuts for the pine nuts. And then when it gets cooler again, slip in some chunks of roasted winter squash in place of the pear. This is one of those basic blueprint recipes that takes well to a little freespirited tweaking. Let us know your discoveries!

      1. Thanks, Renee…I happen to have a butternut squash in the pantry and that sounds like an excellent idea.

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